The finalists of the Retailer of the Year Awards have been announced.

People have been naming their favourite shops and businesses around St Albans city centre over the past couple of months.

Mystery shoppers then visited the nominated shops and have prepared a shortlist of five finalists in each category.

The winners will be revealed at a gala awards night will be held at the Alban Arena, in St Albans, on January 29.

The competition began nearly ten years ago as the brainchild of Cllr Roma Mills, who represents Batchwood and Martin Buhagiar, the former editor of the Review.

Eric Roberts, who is a member of the St Albans Civic Society and one of the judges in the competition, said the awards showcased the best of what St Albans “has to offer”.

He said: “I think it is important to promote the city centre and make people more aware of what St Albans still has to offer.

“It is still an attractive and distinctive shopping and leisure destination with many independent businesses.”

The shortlist of nominees is as follows:

Market Traders

• Chrissy’s Cupcakes

• Martin Firsht Lady’s Fashions

• Munib Islam Telephone Accessories

• So Cosy Blankets & Throws

• Tylers’ Fruit & Veg

Specialist Shops

• The Flower Box, Village Arcade

• Costias, Holywell Hill

• Country to Coast, Christopher Place

• Rock, Pop, Candy, Holywell Hill

• Chantilly Interiors, Catherine Street

Food & Drink

• Tomaka Spirits Boutique, Christopher Place

• Juice Pharm, St Peter’s Street

• Hotel Chocolate, The Maltings

• The Beer Shop, London Road

• Buongiorno Italia, Lattimore Road Hair & Beauty

• Clipso, The Maltings

• Alternative Barbering Company, George Street

• Wacky Barber Verulam Road

• Jo Banks Salon & Spa, Chequer Street

• Lee Moran, Holywell Hill

Fashion & Accessories

• D Copperfield, Chequer Street

• The Dressing Room, High Street

• French Connection, Christopher Place

• Chesca Market Place

• Jane & Dada, George Street